Matt Hancock stated that it’s not the time to discuss a pay rise for nurses, although he said he was sympathetic to the argument and the Health Secretary did pay tribute to the work being done by those in the health service but wouldn’t be moved on whether they warranted more money.
The starting salary for a nurse will be £24,900 in 2020/21, but nurses suffered like the rest of the public sector from the coalition, and the Tory government pay freeze which lasted from 2011-12 and then a 1 per cent pay cap for the next five years.
They eventually obtained a pay rise in 2018 with an increase of 6.5 per cent agreed but that’s a trivial amount compared to the work that they do and nursing has lingered behind other NHS staff groups over the past decade, with the workforce increasing by just 6.2 percent between November 2010 and November 2019, compared with 20.6 per cent for hospital doctors.
Chief nurse Ruth May paid tribute to two of her co-workers Aimee O’Rourke, 38, and Areema Nasreen, 36, who died from coronavirus after treating patients and warned that there were likely to be more.
Presenter Andrew Marr told Matt Hancock that nurses are paid about £25,000 a year at the moment and did he consider as a consequence of this experience they deserve to be paid more in the future?
Matt Hancock responded that everyone wants to support nurses right now but he was sure there would be time to discuss things like this. He continued that at the moment they’re just struggling to get through this.
He stated that he was extremely sympathetic to that argument but that at the moment it wasn’t a time to enter into a pay negotiation and that now is the time for everyone to be doing their very best.
But appearing on the same programme, the new Labour leader Keir Starmer asserted that the NHS required more money and that many of those who have been vital during the crisis deserve to be paid much better.
He said the pandemic had shown who the key workers actually are and that they quite frequently have been neglected, underpaid and there’s going to be a change. That they were last and now they’ve got to be first.
He continued that the NHS urgently requires more investment and that they’ve got to look at funding because the NHS has struggled for funding over the last ten years, so that had to be looked at and they had to think about how they can reimagine the economy going forward.
Keir Starmer advised against responding to the immense public spending to tackle coronavirus with another decade of biting Austerity and he said that they don’t know what the final figure will be and that they can’t simply make the mistake they made in 2010 and go for another decade of Austerity.
He said that they’ve seen what that’s done to the country and that we can’t go down that path again and that we can’t go back to business as usual after the pandemic and he said that it’s inevitable that we have to ask those that have more, to pay more.
The fact is that at the moment we don’t know how big this challenge is going to be until we’re through the crisis but when we do get through this, there’s going to have to be a reckoning and we’re all going to have to do things differently so that we can build a better future.
And this country needs to see politicians and political parties pulling together to face coronavirus.
Matt Hancock said this is not the time to pay nurses more money, yet they found time to give millions to private companies and increase their own expense allowance and perhaps they should tier tax up by 80 per cent for those earning over £200,000, with it being used to finance nurses and medical staff, whose pay has deteriorated despite growing need.
A Phlebotomist works on the front line and gets paid band 2 which works out less than most shop assistants, so a substantial pay rise would be nice and it’s odd how the government can swiftly find hundreds of billions of pounds, yet the NHS has been struggling for years.
The NHS has been begging for more money for basic items for as long as I can remember. They can’t even order a pencil if there’s no money in the budget, you just wouldn’t believe how they have to work, and now they’re expecting them to commit suicide for £25,000 a year.
I can guess what’s going to happen next, the government will say they’ve put enough money into the NHS, that Austerity must start again and all money must be invested to help business grow – therefore no money for a pay rise in the NHS sector – so they must have another pay freeze for 3 years.
So, it’s not a good time to consider pay increases for NHS workers who are saving lives and are fighting this virus without enough or the wrong PPE, but it’s acceptable for MPs to vote themselves a 20 per cent pay increase.
Well, if now isn’t the time, then when for pity’s sake is it? And the last time NHS pay was discussed in the House of Commons it was rejected and Tory MPs cheered the decision enthusiastically, which they shouldn’t be allowed to forget.
But what the government should be doing is giving NHS workers protective equipment so they don’t die before pay rises can be given.
NHS workers might be recognised and honoured by the public with their clapping and cheering but the government won’t consider giving them a pay rise, they’ll simply be told to take a hike when this virus has gone away.
But what the government should have done in the first place was to give them recognition by giving them more money that suits the job they do, yet it appears that it’s the perfect time to discuss more wages for politicians.
This argument has been brought up time and time again and the Tories have scorned it, like they’ve snubbed the calls for the funding of the NHS.
Danger money should be paid so they can go out and purchase the necessary safety equipment they need to do their job safely, but it appears the government aren’t interested in providing them with any.
And it’s disheartening that we’ve got such a swine as Health Secretary at such a fraught time.
Doctors and nurses and other NHS workers are dying but this isn’t the time to address what a magnificent job they’re doing and how they should be compensated suitably for it.
So, what is the cost of selflessly jeopardising your life for a total stranger?
The fact is that as much as we value those who work in the NHS, and never so much as now, ordinarily we don’t pay much attention to those nurses who find it difficult to survive on their despicable wages.
But our government could have made a substantial difference to those who do such an excellent job but have repeatedly chosen not to and generally the public at best show a ‘so what’ attitude, yet they all come out on a Thursday night and cheer and display their support, perhaps because it makes them feel better for letting them down.